Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Friday, September 5, 2008
Ok, I'm back to regular blogging now. Hiatus over.
This episode is loosely based on a short story by W.W. Jacobs, The Monkey's Paw.
We begin in a darkened bedroom. A kid is sleeping under a green blanket. Cue smoke machine in closet. A hooded, cloaked figure creeps up to the sleeping kid. Uh oh!!
Phew! It's only a dream. Ahh!! No it's not!!!
Meanwhile, back at the campfire, the Midnight Society scream and then starts to badger Eric about his tale. He claims to not know what happens. Cut the kid some slack. He's awkward as hell. The MS continue to gang up (a literal description for Kiki) on Eric. Finally, David is coerced into telling his tale.
And then the magic words...
"Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story..."
Cue grinning Jack O'Lantern. OT: I am so freaking excited that Halloween is coming up. / OT
David voiceovers that it's the day before Halloween. Mischief night (We've always called it Goosie Night where I'm from. What do you call it?). The night of tricks. A prostitute comes by and smashes the pumpkin, Not really, but I wish. Too bad I wasn't holding a twisted claw as I said that (you'll get it later, don't worry).
A kid in a hoodie slinks up to the front door of a house. He rings the doorbell and runs away. He's then joined by a few other kids who proceed to TP trees and spray the car in the driveway with shaving cream. Well, I guess they never read this. If they had, they would know they fail at pranks. They're finally chased away by the owner of the house. Just a guess, but maybe they shouldn't have rang the fucking doorbell.
The merry pranksters move on and the group eventually dwindles down to two before chickening out of pranking an old creepy house. Witches are going to get them or some such nonsense. I'm bored already with this episode and I'm only 2 minutes and 53 seconds in.
So, the 2 boys names are Kevin and Dougie. Kevin is the braver one, David voiceovers. Thank you David. K & D decide to prank the scary house. This will end well, I'm sure. They have the shaving cream ready to spray onto the glass window of the front door, but of course the front door opens. The old lady gets a shaving cream facial.
What's with this show and the ejaculation imagery?
The old woman stumbles backwards into her house and into a vase, which falls to the floor and shatters. Uh oh. K & D shit their pants and run for their lives. The old woman, with shaving cream still on her face, stands on the porch and laughs her evil witch laugh.
We then cut to a living room scene, complete with bratty kid and inattentive newspaper-reading father in an armchair. Mom comes in and informs Dougie that Kevin is here. She seems impressed by Kev's costume. He's a bum. I guess the kid never read Ironweed. Dougie is pissed off at Kevin's costume. He's kind of a dick. Of course, it wouldn't be an AYAOTD episode without preadolescent dickery.
D&K walk by the scary house from the night before. The old woman's name is Miss Clove, and they decide to pay her a visit. She's batshit insane and invites them inside. She claims no one has ever come to her house before. I (don't)wonder why.
She promises to give them a special treat and leaves the room. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the ejaculation imagery does not make an appearance in the upcoming scenes. She returns with a box containing a vulture claw. She claims it's made of wood and whoever gets it will get three wishes. K&D are intrigued and debate the rules of the wishes with Miss Batshit Insane (BSI). They want candy instead, but Miss BSI refuses to let them leave without the vulture claw. She then tells them to be careful what they wish for. It just might come true. Ominous.
It might just be me, but Miss BSI's accent has changed at least 6 times since she first appeared. Annoying.
Once outside, Dougie says he wishes trick-or-treating was over. The claw moves. Kevin is having none of Dougie's bullshit. He wants more candy.
Cue dangerous suburban hoodlum teens around a bonfire. We know they are dangerous because one just climbed halfway up a fence then jumped down.
The teens want K&D's candy. Kevin tells them he worked all night for it. Hello prostitution / pimp metaphor! There's a struggle over the candy bags, complete with a weird masked man.
I told you they were dangerous.
K&D manage to escape with some of their candy, but the dangerous suburban gang follow them. On bikes. I bet they also steal their parent's cigarettes and pretend to inhale.
Cut to K&D standing in garbage cans. Way to hide, kids. The main street maniacs will never find you there. K&D realize that Dougie's accidental wish came true. Trick-or-Treating is over.
Next day. Middle school hallway. Bad 90s fashion. Hey remember when we all wore signs to school?
No? Oh. Me either.
Insert plot furthering discussion about childhood aspirations, a popular douchey kid named Bostick (see sign above), field day, and the 600 meter race.
Kevin actually holds the fucking claw up in the middle of the crowded hallway and makes a wish. I hope Bostick kicks his ass.
Ok. Field day time. I hope you'll forgive me if I rush through this part, even though nothing say exciting like a middle school athletic competition. Here's the basics: a chubby man with a bull horn, running, sweat, high fives, obligatory kid in wheelchair, anal rape by vulture claw, huge white dog comes out of nowhere and attacks Bostick, Kevin wins race. Ok maybe one of those things aren't completely true. That's right. You guessed it. The dog was BLACK not WHITE.
Bostick has a broken leg. Kevin is distraught. The dog is nowhere to be found.
Back at the campfire. Filler. Explanations for the slow amongst us. David, King of Exposition Land, tells us that Dougie's parents went to dinner later that night and Kevin came over with his gold medal. Way to be humble there, kid.
Cut to Dougie's house. Prepubescent arguing in full swing. Kevin doesn't want the parents to find out about what's happening. He thinks they can handle it themselves. That's for you, Ann M. Martin.
Oh shit! Kevin, holding the vulture claw of course, says to Dougie,"I wish you'd just lose your folks!" I think you know what's coming.
Phone rings! (Possibly) Dead parents on line 5! Ok, by now you'd think that they would be a little more careful about their vocabulary when holding the vulture claw. Further more, why are they always holding the claw in the first place?
Of course, they don't learn their lesson, as Dougie hold the claw and utters, "I wish Grandpa was here." Cue the old man car creeping up the foggy road with dead grandfather inside. Kevin says, and I chuckle, "I don't want to meet no ghost!" The boys fight over the claw.
The doorbell rings, but Dougie chooses to leave his dearly departed grandpa on the porch as Kevin grabs the claw and wishes everything away.
Dougie finally goes to open the door. It's only his parents. They forgot their keys. Likely. Mom offers ice cream, which they apparently keep in the fridge. WTF? K&D realize that everything that happened no longer happened because of the last wish. Then the doorbell rings. Sitting on the porch is a vase from Miss BSI. So clever.
David then voiceovers that all K&D could hear was the sound of the wind in the trees, or was it the cackling of a sly witch? Yeah, make up your mind David.
Rating: 3 teenage gang members out of 5
In Summation: The Tale of the Twisted Claw is an obvious meditation on the hard-knock life of a prostitute.
Coming soon: a very special entry.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
I meant to have this done by last Friday, but then the epic failure that is Breaking Dawn was released. My time would have been better spent writing this entry than reading that. Hindsight, and all that.
Anyway, let's get this over with.
We begin with a shot of Kristen walking through the woods. She's obviously nervous, as she keeps crying out, "Hello?" She of course has her huge pink backpack with her and her hair is in a stylish side ponytail secured with a blue scrunchie. But, oh no! she's not alone!
It's just David. He apologizes. OT: I love, what I assume, is the Canadian pronunciation of sorry. I could listen to Paige from Degrassi apologize all day. Hopefully I haven't offended any Canadian readers.
Back on topic: David hands Kristen a birthday gift. She promises to open it after the meeting.
At the campfire Eric is catching popcorn in his mouth and then is waterboarded by Frank. Cue prepubescent rage! Gary comes to the rescue and Kiki flashes gang signs.
David then tells us that his story has to do with two kids who don't get along because they are so different, and a love that survives even death. I see what he did there. How meta.
And then the magic words, "Submitted for approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story....
David, our friendly narrator, tells us that it's the beginning of summer vacation and everyone but Amanda is excited. You see, Amanda's parents are scientists and have left her in the care of her Aunt Dottie while they study something exotic in some exotic locale. Did R.L. Stine write this episode?
Cousin Beth is a bitch as she peeks out her window and smirks her early 90s smirk. Cue banging noise from abandoned house next door! Aunt Dottie (who also happens to be the realtor) informs Amanda that the house just doesn't want to be sold. Ever think that maybe people just don't want to live next door to you, Aunt Dottie?
Inside, Beth is on the phone mocking her cousin, when Amanda enters the room. Beth, barely able to hold her head up under the crushing weight of her bangs, hangs up and helpfully informs her cousin, that she will not, under any circumstances, be spending time with her this summer.
Cue plot intro: Beth then tells Amanda that there is also an initiation. Amanda will have to spend the night in the Place Next Door (PND), which is haunted. What a chilling, sinister name for a creepy, abandoned, home! Sends chills up your spine, huh?
Later that night, Amanda sits in the hallway and write a letter while reading it aloud. Seriously? And then we meet Nanny!
Amanda hurries into Beth's room. Beth tells her how much she hates Nanny because she is old and weird and somehow connected to the PND. She also mentions a pool party, initiation, blah blah blah.
The next morning Amanda is walking down the stairs, her vision blocked by the pile of Beth's dirty laundry she is carrying, and bumps into Nanny. Nanny drops a brooch and Amanda picks it up for her. The brooch appears to have a picture in it.
Cue overheard conversation between Beth and Aunt Dottie regarding how nasty and unwanted Nanny is. I hate these people. Aunt Dottie says they cannot get rid of Nanny because she has nowhere else to go. I'm not buying it, and neither should you.
What's the real reason why Nanny is still living there even though Beth is a hideous hag, too old to need a nanny?
A) Nanny is a Russian mobster blackmailing Aunt Dottie
B) Nanny is Aunt Dottie's secret lover
C) The entire situation is a plot contrivance
D) All of the above
Night time in bitchville! The initiation is about the begin! Fucking Amanda asks Beth and her assembled group of friends why PND is thought to be haunted. The gist of the story: On her way to her grandmother's house, a little mute girl is teased, followed home (PND!), locked in bedroom, and dies, all because her father was injured in the war. Or something like that.
Amanda must stay in the very same bedroom that the little mute girl died in! I just wet myself.
Into the house! Cue child laugh and footsteps! Amanda climbs the stairs to the death bedroom. Once in bedroom, cue the obligatory scared by own reflection in mirror scene!
But wait! Someone or something wrote HELP ME on the wall, but as super sleuth Amanda tells us, it's written backwards! Oh no, with only a mirror in the empty room, how will she ever know what it says?
GHOST IN MIRROR!!! I'm not too proud to admit that I jumped. Cue freak out and run home like a little bitch scene.
Amanda runs to her bedroom and slams the door shut. Sweet safety. I don't know, I'd rather take my chances with a lonely ghost than deal with Beth's bitch face.
Nanny emerges from her bedroom and then goes back in. I guess they could only afford so many sets for this episode. There is no other reason why so many scenes take place in the hallway.
Back at the campfire it's time for exposition. In case you were wondering where Beth and Aunt Dottie were, David tells us that Beth is at Sally's (who??) and Aunt Dottie is at work, completely disregarding a cardinal rule of storytelling. Show, don't tell, David. Jeez.
Back in the land of bitches and non scares, Amanda told Aunt Dottie what happened, and she and Beth are sold into slavery.
Amanda and Beth are forced to scrub the walls at PND, because someone or something wrote help me all over the walls. Once inside the death bedroom, the door slams shut and the mirror turns into a portal to the afterlife. I'll have to inform all my religion teachers from K-12 that heaven is not a beautiful party with loved ones and harps, but is just a small bedroom with an ass-load of stuffed animals and dolls. Beth seems to enjoy this glimpse of heaven. Of course she would. She's a non-Zeeb. Only Zeebs don't like neatly organized stuffed animals.
Beth walks through the mirror. Bye Beth! Ghost girl comes out. Must be the afterlife's idea of foreign exchange programs.
Amanda understandably freaks out and cowers in front of the locked door, crying and shaking. Ghost girl approaches. I hope she eats her face or sucks out her soul or something. Oh. She just wants to give Amanda a locket with a picture of Nanny in it. Nanny is Ghost Girl's mother. Amanda is taking this remarkably well.
Amanda realizes the writing is on the wall and promises to help Ghost Girl. Amanda runs to get Nanny, while Beth pounds on the mirror.
Oh no!!! Nanny is leaving, as we see from a bedroom window. Amanda runs out to the driveway, but Nanny is not buying Amanda's bullshit until Amanda shows her the locket.
They leave the taxi waiting and run towards PND. Hope the meter isn't still running.
Once inside the death bedroom, Nanny hugs Ghost Girl.
You know, all this could have been prevented if Nanny did not send a very young mute girl off to her grandmother's house all alone without even telling the grandmother that the girl was coming, nor inquiring if she even arrived!
Ghost Girl beckons Nanny to enter the mirror with her. Maybe this is when the face eating / soul sucking happens? Nope. neglectful mother and ghost daughter walk into the mirror and embrace in the doll and stuffed animal filled heaven.
Amanda awkwardly hugs Nanny's purse. I guess she's paying the taxi driver.
Beth is still trapped behind the mirror and begs for help. A opens the closet door and Beth falls out, just as her friends walk in the room.
Back at the campfire, David exposits that Amanda and Beth had a great summer. I was so worried about them.
David corners Kristen and reminds her that she never opened the present. She fakes an apology and opens the box. It's a locket. How much do you want to bet it contains a LIFE SIZED photo of a certain love-sick Midnight Society member's penis?
And then it's all over.
Grade: 3 Zeebs out of 5.
In Summation: The Tale of the Lonely Ghost is an allegorical meditation on the horrors and consequences of war.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Well, here we go again.A stilted voiceover tells us: "The park was called Playland and it was the best! You could laugh and scream and get scared to death on rides and stuff up on junk food and ditch your parents, all in one night." Apparently you can also indulge in run-on sentences at Playland. Oh, and there is also a spook house called Laughing in the Dark. That name irritates me.
We are then treated to an inside view of said spook house. Two young girls, without parental supervision, of course. Does this take place in Stoneybrook? Never mind, I don't see any over-eager 13 year olds organizing the tour through the spook house.The girls open a door. Oh no! A clown!
Back to the campfire. Kristen (the blonde one played by Rachel Blanchard) jumps up and wants to take her baby pink backpack and get the hell out of there. She lets everyone know that she HATES clown stories. Kiki (who looks exactly like a pre-teen boy in this episode) diagnoses Kristen as having "Bozophobia." How witty.
Kristen decides to suck it up and tells Betty Ann to do her worst.And then the magic words: "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society I call this story..."
Whoa, Josh has a hockey... thing in his bedroom.
Speaking of titillating, cue inappropriate tickling of your best friend's little sister. Thankfully this scene is ended by Josh being hit in the head with a garbage can lid. I believe Cathy describes it as "bung"ing him on the head.Weegee dares Josh to go to LITD. And to prove he made it all the way through, he has to steal the nose from the dummy Zeebo that's in the spook house. Josh agrees on one condition: Weegee must wear the clown nose to school.
Back at Playland. The carney appears again (btw, he's played by the same actor that played Dr. Va-Va-Va Vink)This spook house is pretty lame. Mirrors! Oh no! Oh, and Zeebo also appears out of nowhere. Josh shits his pants. Wait, wait, wait. A dragon comes out from a wall, shooting REAL fucking flames from its mouth. Didn't the place already burn down once? Jeez. Someone must be sleeping with the fire marshal.
Josh's sensitive nostrils are then assaulted by the smell of cigar smoke and ends up in a room containing many doors. Cue Carney voice: "Pick the right door, you'll go free. Wrong door, there he'll be"What's behind door #5? A skull. Door #4? A hand pointing the way to the exit and canned applause. Josh needs the nose, so he persists.
Door #6? Zeebo! A dummy Zeebo, to be exact. Josh steals the nose, calls himself "the guy who beat Zeebo" and exits via door #4. The camera then pans down to the crack underneath door #6 as smoke streams under the door and into the room. My money is on the dragon.Back to the campfire! Eric (I think, I can't keep these goddamn kids straight) says he has a cramp. I feel for the kid, really I do, but that excuse only works if you have a uterus and are trying to get out of gym class. The Midnight Society agrees with me and tells Eric to sit the fuck down.
Betty Ann then informs us that if you thought Josh was a dick before he stole the nose, then you'd be horrified by his behavior after the nose theft. I guess red, foam clown noses are the marijuana of petty crimes. Everyone knows if you smoke weed once you'll end up a crack-head hooker. I guess the same logic applies to Josh's situation. It's sad to see a good, hockey loving kid go down the wrong path. For shame.We cut to Josh, Cathy, and Weegee (now donning the clown nose) sitting on the front steps. Cue chicken clucking. Weegee and Cathy are fed up with the dickery and leave Josh's ass outside to look for the clown nose that Weegee threw into the bushes. Once again, Josh smells cigar smoke. I'm glad Josh isn't asthmatic. He finds the nose. Camera pans to backyard just in time to see smoke drifting around the corner of the house.
Josh arrives home to find his parents have went to the theatre. Don't worry, there's spaghetti and chocolate pudding in the fridge.A creaking door sound interrupts Josh's near orgasm over licking his pudding covered fingers. Pudding Interruptus? He drops the bowl and pudding splashes all over the floor. A metaphorical description of unfulfilled sexual desire culminating in premature ejaculation? Probably not. After dropping his load (of pudding- calm down) the first thing Josh says is "Mom." How Freudian.
Josh goes into the living room and the closet door creeks open. Josh grabs a baseball bats and tried to look and sound threatening. He's not very convincing, as you can imagine. Good thing it was just a false alarm. The phone rings. It's Weegee calling to apologize. They hang up and the phone rings again. Cue creepy clown(?) voice saying "Give it back. Give it back."In a fearful panic, Josh sets the table for his spaghetti dinner. I always remember proper dining etiquette when a ghost clown is after me. However, I don't usually set down 50 forks, as Josh does.
Oh no! Something in the microwave is burning! Josh opens the lid to find his spaghetti has been replaces with cigar butts. Tasty. Josh screams and runs upstairs. The camera pans and we see that someone has stepped in the pudding puddle. Who could it be?
Next time we see Josh he's back at LITD, carrying a brown paper bag. Maybe it's the leftover spaghetti that was replaced with cigar butts. He passes the scary mirrors and flaming dragon before ending up in the room o'many doors. Door #4, the exit, is locked. Door #6 opens and smoke streams out. Josh removes the clown nose from the paper back and places it on the floor. He then takes out a box of cigars. I hope he stole them from his dad. Or is the tobacco buying policy now: you must be 18 (or 19 if you're in Jersey) to buy unless you're buying cigars to appease a homicidal clown ghost?Door #6 closes. Door #4 opens. Josh makes his exit.
Our last glimpse of Playland is the carney guy smoking a cigar and laughing.Back at the campfire, the Midnight Society argues about the tale's ending. Was Zeebo real? Was the carney guy really Zeebo's ghost? Was the carney guy just too cheap to buy his own cigars?
It's pretty obvious to me. It was all the work of the flaming dragon. The subtle symbolism of Josh landing on an inflatable pool toy that closely resembled a dragon (it was a sea monster) gives it all away. I imagine even with the obviously enormous budget given to this show, finding a dragon pool toy would be very difficult, so a sea monster is the next best choice. Sea monster? Dragon? Semantics. Let's not split hairs. Good job writers / prop crew!
It's only logical to assume that the dragon really burned the place down the first time and since then has been trying to place the blame on Zeebo. Everyone knows dragons are spiteful, malicious bitches.
Grade: 3 flaming dragons out of 5
I think even as an incredibly easy to scare child, I wouldn't have been frightened by this one. The scariest part was the tickling.